Thursday, March 26, 2015

When statins aren't necessary any longer

I was happy to see this article on NPR's Facebook feed the other day:

If You're Going To Die Soon, Do You Really Need Statins?

Why we need a study to tell us that terminally ill people can and should stop taking any drugs that aren't completely necessary at that stage in their lives, I don't know, but I'm pleased with the findings.

Going off statins didn't cause a significant increase in heart attack risks or hasten death, the study found. People lived about seven months from the start of the study. And though there weren't significant differences in quality of life, people did say they felt better and were happier to be taking fewer medications.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tips for making shots less painful

This morning two women at Starbucks were talking about how the one woman's daughter was going to need daily shots for something (I didn't catch what).  I felt bad about inadvertently overhearing, but as soon as she mentioned shots, I was paying attention, by choice or not.  Since I'm diabetic and I take shots all the time, it caught my attention, especially since she was talking about giving them to a little girl.

I gave her some quick advice on making the shots less traumatic: Get her to relax first (so that the shot hurts less going in), and give the injection slowly (so that it doesn't burn).  I wish I'd had more time to explain though, as it needed a more detailed explanation.

If I'd had more time, this is what I would have said.  This is what I've learned with my insulin injections, but I think it applies to other shots as well.

Are new insulins better or just better promoted?

Today I saw this frustrating article on my Facebook feed:

Why Is Insulin So Expensive In The U.S.?

The article talks about how the older kinds of insulins -- and we're talking about really old, back when insulin used to be harvested from animals -- is still available in other countries, and provides a more affordable alternative to the more modern insulins.

Although this doesn't me (I understand why people would want a cheaper alternative available, even though there is a very good reason we went away from these insulins), there are also things in this article that infuriate me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The cost of having diabetes includes more than just medical care

This morning while scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across this scary but unsurprising headline:

If You're One Of The World's 382 Million Diabetics, Your Wages May Dip

The article talks about both the developing world, in which there is quite a lot of variation by country as to how much diabetes will cost you in lost wages, and the first world.  Think we're immune to this kind of discrimination?  Hardly:

In the U.S., the analysis finds that employment opportunities for women with diabetes are reduced by about 50 percent, and that women with diabetes lose about $21,000 in earnings per year.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The importance of sleep

We are realizing more and more how important sleep is for our physical and mental health.  A lack of sleep is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, probably because while you sleep, your body releases the hormones that helps you to process fat stores.  As a result, too little sleep leads to weight gain due to an imbalance of those fat-processing hormones, and of course, being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In addition, chronic sleep loss leads to higher levels of insulin, which in turn produces an insensitivity to insulin and an increase in appetite.

So while sleep can't lower your risk of type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease and unrelated to weight or lifestyle), it can significantly decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  This is important to remember right now, when everyone is fretting over the upcoming switch to Daylight Savings Time.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Is socialized health care as bad as we're told?

In America, the popular opinion is that socializing health care ruins it.  The waiting lists!  The control out of our own hands!  The horror!

Well, as anyone with a chronic condition such as diabetes knows, the idea that we have control of our own health care in the U.S. is ludicrous.  Try to get an expensive procedure or treatment or piece of equipment and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, my rants aside, check out this article about an American citizen who moved to the U.K., and what he has to say about Britain's socialized health care.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The question of an artificial pancreas

NPR ran a story the other day about advancements that are "inching us closer" to an artificial pancreas for diabetics.

Diabetes Technology Inches Closer To An Artificial Pancreas

Apparently this journalist hasn't been around long, because I've been seeing claims about this for probably the last eight years.